Ode to the Library Assistant

My path was never the librarian despite my love of libraries and literature. I never considered walking this path until college when realizing that becoming a teacher wasn’t in the cards for me. I count myself lucky for working in libraries and customer service jobs that, with the finishing of library school, positioned me to gain a full-time library position in circulation within my state’s library system.

Were the job duties simple and easy? No. Were the job duties challenging and engaging? Yes. This is my ode to the library assistant.

I first became a library assistant after graduating with my Master’s in Library and Information Science. It was a rough period, with people around me asking why I was in an entry-level position, why I don’t make enough money, why I deal with duties that do not require my degree. My go-to answer: I go in 100%. This is my challenge. Eventually I’ll move up when the time is right. I need to learn circulation first.

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Taking notes on EVERYTHING.

Let me tell you something, I have the utmost respect with circulation. They deal with the front-lines, the first phone calls, the irate and the charming first, they deal with everything I did not learn in library school. (I was fortunate to have a required class on communicating with others however there wasn’t a class strictly on Circulation.) These guys are badass, helpful, know-everythings that I wonder how the library would survive without them. I can’t survive in a library by myself without circulation. If patrons are the lifeblood of the library, circulation is the heart of it all. They ensure I do my job as a librarian well.

I would never trade my time in circulation for another job. I learned how to properly run a register in the library, how to talk to patrons better, how to make small talk and promote programs easily (I’m an introvert that is confused by small talk), how to assess books for mending, how to multitask and juggle phone calls with a patron in front of me while needing to find a book on shelf. It was my boot camp into the library world post-school, with a full-time job.

To all of you working at library assistants, I love you all for you are essential to the library machine. You do the dirty work, the grunt work, the work that needs to be done. You help make the jobs of techs, librarians, managers, and volunteers so much easier. If you move up due to experience, you’ll be better equipped to handle the position. It needs to be said: You. Are. Vital.

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Summer Reading 2018 – Calm Before the Storm

Summer Reading 2018 is here!

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Excited Haruhi Suzumiya via GIPHY

CAN YOU FEEL IT?

We got programs up the wazoo! This year we combined programs to be more family oriented. The following programs are being put together by our library:

  • Ani-Mazing Anime Programs: A continuation from before summer, bi-monthly anime showings with discussion. Three episodes shown and patrons can vote for the next episode.
  • Cosplay Your Heart Out: My good friend and awesome cosplayer will be showing cosplay techniques and thrifty shopping to create a cosplay based on your favorite pop culture character!
  • Darin Miyashiro and Co. Japanese Koto Performance: Local Koto musician Darin Miyashiro will be doing a Koto performance for patrons of all ages.
  • Every Body Rocks Family Talent Show: Families can sign up to sing or play musical instruments for an audience!
  • Family Craft Time: Family members (caregivers and teens/children) are able to sign up to do crafts together! The Children’s Librarian is in charge and taught me how to do the craft so to be in charge of a class out of three classes. I’m not a crafty person (my origami cranes are sad cranes) so this gives me hope.
  • Musical Movie Mondays: Every Monday at 3:30 pm, we’ll be showing a musical-themed movie. So far we have SingLa La LandPitch Perfect 3Moana, and Coco. All movies are up to PG-13.

Here’s to Summer Reading 2018!

Dealing with Burnout

Feeling fatigued? Want to stay in bed and recharge? See the bags under your eyes despite sleeping 8+ hours?

That could mean a lot of different things but what if it revolved around your work?

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I know that feel too via GIPHY

Tips to get yourself recharged and energized for work!

  • Do not bring work home. As a librarian, reading is part of the job, even if it means previewing a book in case patrons have questions. Sometimes you can feel overwhelmed when it’s the weekend and you’re waiting on confirmation for a program or anxious because you forgot to finish something before closing time. It’s okay. You’re not alone, I need to repeat it every day at closing. For reading, read something you want rather than reading something off your work list.
  • Log out of your email. It’s tempting but do not enable work email on your phone or your home computer. Nooooo. Nope. Nada. Keep that at work.
  • Stress-less hobby. Rather than saying “mindless”, do something that doesn’t cause you stress. For me it’s playing video games or doodling in my bullet journal. With video games, I need to monitor my stress levels and need to listen to myself when it’s time to quit a game.
  • Take a walk. Fresh air, greenery, just walking around outside is a nice change of pace after being cooped up in the office.
  • Treat. Your. Self. Finished a program you’ve been planning for 3 months? Treat yourself. Successfully completed a reference transaction? Pat yourself on the back and treat yourself. Got a negative reaction from a situation you could not control? Learn and treat yourself.
  • Vacation or Sick Day. Take a mental health day or plan a few months in advanced a couple days to refresh yourself. You need to recharge yourself but do not feel bad that your coworkers are picking up your slack. They’d want you at 100% rather than 25% and unable to provide teamwork. I feel bad calling in sick but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Kawaii Kon – A Volunteer Saga

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Kawaii Kon has come and gone. An excited event filled with numerous events and guests from all over the world. To a happy Kon!

This year was my second year volunteering for our public library system booth located inside Kawaii Kon’s Artist Alley. I must say, it was a fun and interactive experience, learning new things as time goes on. My partner in crime being Hillary C., my co-presenter from our 2017 Hawaii Library Association panel on graphic novels.

I was only able to stay for 1 hour due to a last-minute schedule change with my volunteering time for Kawaii Kon but what an hour! We interacted with 80 people in 1 hour! Considering how quiet Sundays usually are for a convention and we came in after the lunch rush, I’d say that’s pretty awesome.

How it worked: Attendees who show their library card can get a choice of a manga or book! This year there were puzzle books and superhero graphic novels aside from manga and literature. No library card? No problem! Get a free pencil or sticker! Grab a library card application to fill out and turn in to your nearest library to have a card and account set up.

Why volunteer: Get the library out into the community! Libraries are just filled with classical literature. There are still people surprised and happy to see the public library booth at the convention, it makes us happy to be noticed.

Is cosplay mandatory at the booth? Not at all, go with yourcomfort zone. Cosplay? Always a good idea! Also an excuse to wear cute costumes! No cosplay? No problem! If anyone asks, say you’re displaying as an otaku librarian. I can say that as my official “cosplay” for 2 years.

I hope to continue my volunteer saga so we’ll see about next year! 😄

Book Club Ideas?

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Ideas! I’ve been brainstorming ideas to hopefully build a book club for the library. Been meaning to have one but I admit, I feel like I’m trying to put all these ideas into play in so little amount of time. It’s time to sit down, focus, and breathe. Make a 5 year plan. Not a 1 year “do all the things” plan!

Continue reading Book Club Ideas?

Favorite Links – December 2017

Inspired by Teen Services Underground, today’s post will be a collection of links I found that struck my interest. For an awesome and recent example of TSU’s “Links of the Month”, feel free to click on the link to view.

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Program Ideas: Bullet Journal

Preparing for my upcoming Bullet Journal Workshop for Teens, Buzzfeed had a helpful post on ways to track your mental health in your journal. I feel this is important to know; I’ve had several teen patrons tell me that they are unable to attend programs at the library due to feeling “overloaded” at school and other activities. I feel you, I’ve been there; I’ve been keeping track of at least one happy thing that happened a day. Whether it be a good patron interaction or bringing a good lunch, it’s nice to look back at a nice thing that made my happy on that day.

A Bullet Journal idea masterpost! When I first looked it over, I couldn’t believe I didn’t think about making a tracker for watching my Netflix series, skincare routine, or reading comics. I understand, I’m behind on tracking graphic novels I’ve read (usually would put the title under a date I started/finished) but this helps. However this gave me more ideas, I’m afraid I’ll need another journal by the time it’s Summer 2018!

Regarding the Bullet Journal ideas, here is a Tumblr dedicated to studying and note-taking. I’ve used the Cornell Notes method since middle school and has stuck with me since. I went from lined to blank pages in a Moleskin journal during college and now I’m going to dot journals but always the same template. The Cornell Notes template is good when we have staff meetings or when I’m brainstorming ideas.

Graphic Novel Talk

From the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, an article “How Comics Conquered Libraries”. A must-read when it comes to understanding how the rise of graphic novels in our libraries have made way for literacy.

Comics, the King of Libraries rings true with this Publisher’s Weekly article. There is mention of attempts to ban comics, how digital comics run through libraries, acquiring webcomics, and the continuing rise for these books. Indeed there is a growing demand for comics and with public libraries being a channel for people to access comics for free, we’ll continue to see that demand rise. Honestly I’m intrigued by the banning of books, particularly graphic novels. There is still the presumption that due to the graphic medium, the books are only for children. With suggested age ratings on the books, librarians have shields to explain to those who wish to ban graphic novels. I believe with proper guidance, graphic novels of all levels will be accepted.

I hope to make this a monthly thing, to share things I come across and to organize it all. Cheers and thanks for reading!

“Graphic Novels and You” Info

I figured I would make a separate post on the information regarding the brochure that was given out during the “Graphic Novels and You” panel Hillary and I hosted. I reformatted it so it fits a blog post rather than the trifold brochure. Please contact me if there are any questions!

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Photo by marguerite/Flickr

Top Recommended Graphic Novels for Your Library

  • Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
  • Bone by Jeff Smith
  • Case Closed by Gosho Aoyama
  • The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
  • Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama
  • Fables by Bill Willingham
  • Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya
  • Level Up by Gene Leung Yang
  • Maus by Art Spiegelman
  • Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu
  • Oishinbo by Tetsu Kariya and Akira Hanasaki
  • Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan
  • Saga by Brian K. Vaughan
  • A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima
  • Smile by Raina Telgemeier
  • The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
  • Watchmen by Alan Moore

(Note: Feedback from people who attended the panel, we should have added suggested age ratings as well as separate recommended lists for Juvenile, Teens, and Adults. This will be rectified in the future.)

Non-Fiction Books

  • Comics Confidential: 13 Graphic Novelists Talk Story, Craft, and Life Outside the Box by Leonard S. Marcus
  • 100 Greatest Graphic Novels: The Good. The Bad. The Epic. by Katrina Hill and Alex Langley
  • Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud
  • Critical Survey of Graphic Novels: Manga edited by Bart H. Beaty and Stephen Weiner
  • The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Graphic Novels by Francisca Goldsmith
  • Graphic Novels Core Collection edited by Kendal Spires, Gabriela Toth, and Maria Hugger

(Note: Originally the books were separated between books that were available for patrons to check out versus books that were used for reference-only/non-circulating use for library staff. I decided to put them together because shouldn’t have to be separated!)

Non-Fiction Electronic Resources

What is the Graphic Novel?

The Graphic Novel is defined as a story presented in comic-strip format and published as a book. It has many names from the East, from manga (Japan), manhua (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan), manhwa (Korea) to the general term comics in the West. Graphic Novels appeal to all ages, now a part of the popular culture that encompasses movies, novels, television shows, and politics.

Age Ratings

Many publishers have a suggested rating on each graphic novel published, oftentimes on the back of the book. As a librarian, you use your judgment, research reviews, read
the graphic novel, ask colleagues in order to determine where the Graphic Novel should be (Adult/YA/Children collections). Graphic Novels have a general rating system across the board: E for Everyone, Y for Youth (10+), T for Teen (13+), OT for Older Teen (16+), and M for Mature (18+). This is a general system and certain publishers might have a different age rating (i.e. DC Comics has 15+ for OT but but Yen Press lists 16+) so it is something to keep in mind.

Articles

Don’t Judge a Manga by Its Rating…
From YALSA’s The Hub is an article about how sometimes you need look beyond the rating to determine if a graphic novel would be a sound choice for teens.
http://tiny.cc/yalgn

Graphic Novels: A Road Map to Academic Success
From the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) is an article written on the empowerment of graphic novels.
http://tiny.cc/skoolgn

How Graphic Novels Became the Hottest Section in the Library
Publisher’s Weekly released an article on Graphic Novels and “How [They] Became the Hottest Section in the Library”. For one library, graphic novels make up 10% of the collection but accounts for 35% of their circulation.
http://tiny.cc/pwgn

The People’s Comics…
School Library Journal’s article “The People’s Comics: Using the Graphic Format to Teach About Current Events” is an excellent read regarding the graphic novel’s growing presence in the classroom.
http://tiny.cc/sljgn

(Note: Originally there were QR codes which readers can scan onto their phones to read but tiny urls were also included. I took our the QR codes for this post.)